The Real Test - AnandTech's Multitasking Scenarios

Shortly after receiving the dual core system from Intel, I posted a question in my blog asking AnandTech readers to respond with how they multitask.  I kept the question pretty open-ended, just wanting to get a feel for all the different types of multitasking that this sample of AnandTech readers did on a daily basis.  I then took the data and did my best to, in the limited time that I had, model some real world multitasking benchmarks based on the responses.  The results are three real world, multitasking benchmarks with the promise of more to come. 

The biggest commonality between responses was that AnandTech reader systems, much like my own, are loaded with applications running in the background.  So, the first thing that I did to put together our multitasking testbed was to put a ton of applications on it, the type that we all use. I came up with the following list:

Daemon Tools
Norton AntiVirus 2004 (with latest updates)
Firefox 1.02
DVD Shrink 3.2
Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1.0
Newsleecher 2.0
Visual Studio .NET 2003
Macromedia Flash Player 7
Adobe Photoshop CS
Microsoft Office 2003
3ds max 7
iTunes 4.7.1
Trillian 3.1
DivX 5.2.1
AutoGK 1.60
Norton Ghost 2003
Adobe Reader 7

What's important about that list is that a handful of those programs were running in the background at all times, primarily Microsoft's AntiSpyware Beta and Norton AntiVirus 2004.  Both the AntiSpyware Beta and NAV 2004 were running with their real time protection modes enabled, to make things even more real world. 

With my system fully configured, I did what anyone else would do with a brand new system - I used it.  I used it as an actual system doing real world everyday tasks and made notes of my impressions, then came the interesting part - I swapped out processors for a single core non-HT enabled Pentium 4 and started making notes of differences.  Armed with the single core chip, I went to task on creating benchmarks based on some of the tasks that AnandTech readers did on a regular basis (not too surprising, I use my system in a very similar way to most AT readers).  So let's get to the tests...

3D Rendering Performance Multitasking Scenario 1: DVD Shrink
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  • hosto - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    #110 - did you notice better performance on the p4 that you used to have? because on single instance of firefox, the amd chips blow the p4's away....yet, when i have multiple panes open with my a64 it chugs quite nastily if there is flash content. Is there some way that macromedia have optimised the flash player for the P4 for firefox? i wonder if the same slowdowns would be noticeable with internet explorer, or if it is specific to the player in firefox/mozilla? Reply
  • xsilver - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    #106
    I hope you mean in multithreaded apps, as has been said many times before... single threaded apps run the SAME, therefore no benchies were included

    #108
    So true --- its the only reason why I wish I still had my p4HT over the amd64
    Reply
  • xsilver - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    ANAND ... for your gaming benchmarks I recommend a scattering of commonly used programs

    1) the lot of antivirus, trillian, firefox, spyware running in background
    2) gaming related stuff like teamspeak or an audio cd playing in the background (to drown out the crappy game music :)
    any other gaming related stuff would be good too....

    if dual core proves itself, there should be no performance drop, whereas the single core will drop somewhat
    Reply
  • hosto - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    thats funny the comment about the flash going slowly in firefox on the AMD processors in the benchmark..ive noticed the same on my athlon64 3200+ that i cannot have too many flash sites opening without it chugging. Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    this would be funny, but if simply having another core helps out with responsiveness and nothing else, I'm getting the dual VIA C3 mini-itx board hahahahaha!

    OK, not dual core, but hell, it's still small enough and they take only 7w each.
    Reply
  • ksteele - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    I would like to see some "apple to apple" benchmarks by removing the clock speed disparities.

    Pentium D 820 2.8Ghz versus Pentium 4 520 2.8Ghz
    Pentium D 830 3.0Ghz versus Pentium 4 530 3.0Ghx
    Pentium D 840 3.2Ghz versus Pentium 4 540 3.2Ghz

    This will allow us to see the true benefit of dual cores without the speed differences.
    Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    sorry for some typpo's Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    #101 and some others
    You'are mistaken, Inquirer is NOT to be compared to AT. Is is solely news/romours/opinions site and THAT IS THEY ARE BEST AT ! The practical(not theoretical as at CNN...)non-existence of censorship makes them what they are.
    One thing for sure: they make biased and wrong stance against AT on this, but this is what they do almost all the time.

    The beauty of The Inquirer's approach to journalism is that it let's the reader choose which report is to be taken seriously. They even state it in articles regularly.

    I just hate those juornalists that usurp the right for correct judgement just for themselves.

    Just to make clear: I'm in no relation to The Inq. except readeship.

    To Anand:
    This is one of the best articles(at all) a have read so far. And it looks like it's going to be even better when it's completed. Keep up the good work.

    To topic: One thing should be noted. That is that the VERY poor performance at the singlecore(AMD & intel HT off) scenarios is NOT to be atributed to their inferiority but mostly to the incredibly crappy windows scheduler. Availability of multiple CPU's to it just partly hides its inefficiencies. Let's face it. HT is mainly a Windows baby. No way Intel would make the trouble developing it *NIX system were the main ones.
    Reply
  • ksteele - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    I noticed the dual core's have 1MB L2 cache. Does this mean they are 5xx based? Do they support Intel EM64T, XD Bit and Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology? Reply
  • Gatak - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    #83 So you do not think that a game can utilize two CPUs? Run physics and I/O on one Core and render 3D and textures on the other.

    Also, Even though a game is single threaded, you still have the OS in the background, you have the video and audio card drivers running in separate threads. harddisk I/O and interrupt handling is also spread out on multiple cores.
    Reply

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